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[Florence] Meeting David at Piazza della Signoria



Previous entry: [Florence] Nice cake and free souvenirs from Gucci Museo

Pictures have been heavily re-sized for easier loading. Large resolutions of high-quality landscape images are available in an image gallery linked at the bottom of this post.

I've always wanted to meet Michelangelo's David. He was described in my secondary school Chinese textbook and my art module in college as the perfect male form, so I was excited to know that I'd be able to take pictures with him at the Piazza della Signoria. And yes I know it's a replica but it's good enough for me.

Piazza della Signoria was built in the 13th century and is Florence's most important square. Aside from being home to David's most prominent replica, it is also has a free gallery of renowned sculptures (copies too, but hey, they're still art) so naturally we had to pay it a visit.

We entered the Piazza through the Courtyard of the Uffizi. There are actually some notable art pieces inside but we were trying to make up for lost time at the cafe and hence we didn't linger. I only managed to get a few pictures of the interior.

The famous turret that makes its presence noticeable over the entire Piazza can be observed from looking up from the courtyard.

Beautiful mosaic tiling and detailed reliefs on the pillars.

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I took a picture of this, thinking it was the name of the building and wanted to make sure that I knew what I had photographed. Well it's not the name of the Palazzo Vecchio, but I think Genten is the name of an upcoming clothing store that's under construction.

David is just right at the entrance in his naked glory.

Although David is indeed in good form (fit and lean with not overly-muscular), his pisello is generally considered to be too modestly-sized. There's an interesting theory about this. David was placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. He symbolized the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, which was back then an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states like Rome. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. David was threatened by the confrontation of Goliath, and as such, every anatomical detail - tensed forehead, facial expression, protruding veins on his hand - are shaped by the combined effects of fear, tension and aggression. Naturally, his pisello shrivels up too. The study indicated astounding physiological accuracy on Michelangelo's part!

A funny thing happened while I was touching up the photo in Photoshop. You know how when you're in certain modes, the preview panel will zoom in on a specific area of the photo so you can see the effect. It so happens that my mum was right behind me, and stupid Photoshop decided to magnify David's weiner!

At the piazza, we met a family of three who requested help with a group photo, and helped us with ours. We engaged in a bit of small talk. When the man heard that we're from Singapore, he immediately added in 'lah's and 'lor's and it made us laugh so much. He said he'd worked in Singapore a few years ago. So that was really delightful. I won't pretend that it wasn't a nice change from people stubbornly insisting that we're from China or Japan.

We're still laughing from our photographer's exaggerated attempts at Singlish.

The two naked dudes on the right are Hercules and Cacus by Baccio Bandinelli.

Against the backdrop of the Piazza della Signoria

Behind us is the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air sculpture gallery of Renaissance statues.
Can't believe I missed taking a photo of that green bronze statue of Perseus holding Medusa's severed head >_< It would have been my favourite!

Two Medici lions guard the entrance stairway into the Loggia.

The lion and the pup... interesting contrast here. The dog's owner chained him there while she went into the loggia. Not sure why she felt the need to since it's not even indoors and there's nothing prohibiting entry of dogs. Poor thing looks so sad, I hope she went back to it soon!

Couple more pictures with a happier / more neutral looking dog:

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The dog soon became an attraction because more people spotted it and started taking photos after us. Oops ^^;

The Rape of Polyxena sculpture by Pio Fedi, against the backdrop of the Uffizi gallery

I know I should not be smiling in front of a sculpture about the abduction of women but ^^;


Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna

At the back of the Loggia is a line of 6 sculptures known as the Sabines.

Chilling with one of the Sabines. The clothing on the sculpture looks like genuine soft, flowing fabric. It's simply incredible how this can be achieved from carving away at rock hard marble.

Hercules Beating the Centaur Nessus by Giambologna

Menelaus supporting the body of Patroclus

I think it is absolutely amazing how expressions can be conveyed on a colourless marble canvas.

I stood on the raised platform behind the barricade of the Loggia to take this photograph. We thought the security guard at the Loggia was sleeping, but he got up and came over to tell us not to stand there. Oops. I wonder why though. There are no artworks there and the only possible danger is falling off the raised platform and that won't happen unless people are drunk. Oh well.

Actually it isn't too bad in front of the barricade too


The Fountain of Neptune by Bartolomeo Ammannati.

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More pictures of the square:

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That rectangular flat building with the word 'General' on it is the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali. It is a building of an insurance company, one of the few commercial buildings at the square.

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Back of the Palazzo Vecchio.

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We met a Chinese tourist who asked us to help him take a photo with the Palazzo Vecchio with his huge-ass professional camera (I felt so stressed trying to compose the picture >_<;) and then he helped us take these nice photos in return.

Parting shot of the Palazzo Vecchio turret

And then we were on our way to the Ponte Vecchio.

Thanks for reading! Full-resolution images (available for most landscape photos) can be accessed via this gallery.

Posted by kurodatenshi 21:34 Archived in Italy Tagged landscapes art buildings architecture sculptures landmarks history italy florence firenze piazza marble piazza_della_signoria

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